Thursday, November 09, 2006

Joe Rice Media Review 11/9/06

Couple weeks' worth of comics, and some damn fine stuff in there. Gotta meet the old lady in a bit and I feel like I'm coming down with something. So forgive me if I'm brief. Or if I ramble. We'll see what the Emergen-C/Airborne combo cocktail does to me.

I think I missed an issue of Apocalypse Nerd. Not much made sense this issue, and that doesn't feel like Bagge. Dunno if that was the reason, but I didn't enjoy it at all. I'd much rather have more Hate.

I swear to almighty Kirby and Shulz, if you're not doing everything you can do to get your hands on Mouse Guard immediately, then you hate comics and should go read the backs of baseball cards or something. The penultimate issue frakkin ROCKED. Full of action and adventure, and the old-style book-thing in the middle was awesome. These are the baddest mice ever. You folks ARE reading this, right? It's not even indie snob stuff for you to hate. It's frakkin beauty.

Local had a nice one-off story. It's about Megan's younger male cousin in Arizona. You learn a lot about him with very little said . . .it's pretty impressive character work. Especially as he's hardly a cardboard cutout. Three dimensions in one issue. Makes it all look easy. Even though I'd be annoyed by the kid in real life, the book made me feel for him. That's even more impressive, as I hate all children.

I have a gripe about Other Side. If you're (Dave McCraig in specific) going to go for a semi-realistic, washed color scheme, then why can't we have Vietnamese people that don't look (coloring-wise) like the damn Yellow Claw in a 50s book? It was honestly distracting from the beautiful Cameron Stewart art. Anyway, always a sucker for a good war story, and this one's got more to say than most. And that art! Woo. Just fix the coloring guys.

The excitement of a good heist movie is pretty tricky to pull off. Most heist movies blow. And translating it to another medium is even harder. The pacing, the beats, they have to work just so. But Ed Brubaker is doing it in Criminal. This might be his tightest work since Sleeper. It's always a pleasure to see a creator work on something that's very clearly "his." Good character moments, and the unsurprising double-cross was handled surprisingly, which is nice. Good comics.

I never want to know how much X-Men outsells American Splendor. It is the number of stupid. One book with Pekar writing and illustrated by Dean, Ty the Guy, Rick Geary and more. Goddam is it good reading, too. Satisfying shorts, interesting thoughts, good commentary, and, yes, as the cover blurb from Publisher's Weekly says, Pekar finding "exceptional in the everyday" in a very mature way. Are any of you internet folks buying this? Sigh.

Alex put Stan Lee Meets Doctor Strange with my books and it was cute, I guess.

I wasn't expecting much out of Fantastic Four: The End. None of the End books have been very interesting outside of The Punisher. And although there's no doubt Davis is an amazing artist, I've just never cared about his work all that much. See, it's good even though I don't like it. But this was interesting. It's way-out sci-fi FF, which is how they work best. With this and the Godwar stuff in Ultimate FF (have I missed an issue of that?) it's a good FF time.

January's employer in Ex Machina shouldn't have been as surprising to me as it was. But it worked very well. The pot threads and the firefighter threads come together nicely in a book full of people, rather than the types that fill most rags with superpowers. And, boy, does Tony Harris keep getting better. Wow.

Agents of Atlas is a fun book. I think we've solidly established that. This issue was a bit less so, but still a great adventure book. Servicable, clear art and a fast-paced story full of fun and ideas. The craft of comic making is taken seriously, even when the subjects aren't so much. I like.

I've never been a Tim Sale admirer. Er, of his work, I mean. But I do love me some Darwyn Cooke. I dunno if it was this pairing or what, but I really enjoyed Superman Confidential. And who cares about continuity when you get a good story? Danger, nice character work, new ideas, and a thankfully unByrned Clark Kent. It hits all the bases and makes me want more. Now there's two good Superman books.

Where's Chris Sprouse been? I loved him on the Bierbaums Legionaires. He was amazing on Tom Strong. And he's been poofed for a while. But lo and behold, we get him AND Ennis on a kickass Midnighter book. It hits some beats you expect it to, and then some more you don't. It's super-violent, but it feels right. And that last page is a helluva twist. (Clearly, sensitive nerds, Ennis doesn't hate superheroes, he just hates terrible writing.)

Tales Designed to Thrizzle is a masterpiece on every page. If you don't agree you're stupid. Sorry. Next time don't be retarded.

whew gasp gasp that was last week gasp gasp moving on gasp gasp

I got Bullet Points. Mostly for the Edwards art. The old nerd in me likes what-if stories like this. It's kinda cool. The art isn't as good as Edwards' Question. Not yet, at least. Fun to see Parker as a delinquint. I dunno. It's OK.

DMZ took more turns I didn't expect. God bless you Brian Wood. Every time I think I have this book figured out, I don't. Matt goes undercover working for a company, Trustwell, contracted to rebuild parts of Manhattan. Terrorists, corruption, and even some boobies for the dopes among us. Good stuff. Getting used to Burchielli's work slowly but surely.

Speaking of unexpected twists, Eternals had a few. And I liked them. Romita's art is beautiful, of course, and Gaiman's having good fun here. Honestly, I can enjoy this more than a lot of his Sandman, even though the latter is clearly better. Some twists on the mythology here and I'm excited for the end. Got no idea how it's going to go and who exactly is in the right here.

Wonderful art, witty writing, a cracking story . . .Vaughn's Dr. Strange is top notch. Everyone gets great moments. Everyone gets to be a person (again, Vaughn's good at that). There's no reason anyone can give me that they're not buying this book. Is there?

I got Stormwatch for the Mahnke art. I won't be getting it again. A cliched "get a team together" issue with a few nice moments, but not enough to drown out the sheer averageness of the rest. A great big "eh" is a horrible sign.

You always know that Ennis' Punisher is going to pull it off in the end, but the beauty is in the telling. That's why I never get the upset-over-spoilers thing. You KNOW what's going to happen. The what is never important. The how is. The craft, the art of the storytelling. That's why I read. Not the silly plot details. Interchangable. It's the telling. And Ennis is telling it well.

Goddam you Grant Morrison. I can't deal with this rollercoaster of your Batman run. I love an issue and "eh" an issue. Back and forth. This was a great one. Maybe it's like Star Trek movies, only the even numbers are good. I read somewhere that the fill-ins start next issue. I'll be gone for those, I believe. But this was a hell of a capper for the first arc. I know more is coming, and I can't wait. (Ooops, just saw that it's a guest artist, not writer. That's extremely welcome.) This still isn't Seven Soldiers good, but it's fun superhero comics. Very fun. SO CONFOUNDING!